Intermountain Using HIT in Attempt to Cut Opioid Prescribing
INTERMOUNTAIN HEALTHCARE has set an ambitious goal of reducing by 40 percent the number of opioids prescribed at its 22 hospitals and 180 clinics serving Utah and Idaho by the end of 2018. To reach its target, the provider organization will heavily leverage its health information technology infrastructure.
The plan calls for a decrease in the number of opioid tablets prescribed by more than 5 million annually, according to Todd Allen, MD, Intermountain’s acting chief quality officer, who says the organization is the first health system in the country to formally announce such an initiative.
“When you look at the toll these medicines take in our communities, we need to be aggressive,” says Allen, who notes that Utah—where Intermountain is based—ranks seventh in the nation for drug overdose deaths and has been ranked as high as fourth nationally in past years. “We’re right up there at the top in terms of the damage being inflicted upon our families and our communities. We knew we needed to act differently.”
Allen says Intermountain is taking a multipronged approach, which includes evidence-based best care practices and technology, to the problem of prescription opioids. He reveals that the health system has already trained about 2,500 clinicians on “the intricacies of pain management” with new policies and tools, and that training will be expanded to the organization’s other prescribers in Utah and Idaho.
“We’ll make the training more specific, both to specialties and to the patient populations that physicians and their care teams work with,” adds Allen. “We’ll really leverage the growing capabilities of our information technology infrastructure.”
Intermountain is adding default order sets to its Cerner EHR system to help reduce the number of tablets prescribed by having these resources built into the clinical workflow.